Cortez v. Ragan
ORDER signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 6/27/2017 GRANTING 2 Motion to Proceed IFP; REMANDING this matter to Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento. CASE CLOSED. (Michel, G.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant Gary Ragan’s (“Defendant”) Notice
of Removal. (ECF No. 1.) Defendant also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF
No. 2.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court remands the action to the Superior Court of
California, County of Sacramento, due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
On May 26, 2017, Plaintiff Robert Cortez (“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful detainer action in
the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento. (Not. of Removal, ECF No. 1.) The
complaint alleged that on May 22, 2017, Defendant failed to comply with a 30-day notice to quit
the premises. (ECF No. 1 at 10.) On June 27, 2017, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal in the
United States District Court, Eastern District of California. (ECF No. 1.) Defendant does not
allege the basis for this Court’s jurisdiction. (See ECF No. 1.) Defendant does allege that he
“believe[s] [his] Constitutional Rights were violated because of Cortez’s ways he does business.”
(ECF No. 1 at 4.)
28 U.S.C. § 1441 permits the removal to federal court of any civil action over which “the
district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “Removal is
proper only if the court could have exercised jurisdiction over the action had it originally been
filed in federal court.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987).
Courts “strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction,” and “the
defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980
F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam). Furthermore, “[i]f the district court at any time
determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the removed action, it must remedy the
improvident grant of removal by remanding the action to state court.” California ex rel. Lockyer
v. Dynegy, Inc., 375 F.3d 831, 838, as amended, 387 F.3d 966 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied 544
U.S. 974 (2005).
Defendant alleges his constitutional rights were violated by his landlord’s actions. (ECF
No. 1 at 4.) The Court construes Defendant’s statements as alleging jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441. Defendant does not discuss any of the requirements for jurisdiction under Section 1441
— namely that the Court would have original jurisdiction if the action was originally filed in
federal court. Accordingly, Defendant has failed to meet his burden of establishing the Court’s
jurisdiction. Therefore, it is appropriate to remand this case, sua sponte, for lack of federal
jurisdiction. See United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th
Cir. 2004) (“the district court ha[s] a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the
removed action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not.”).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby REMANDS this action to the Superior Court
of California, County of Sacramento. Additionally, the Court has reviewed Defendant’s motion
for in forma pauperis status (ECF No. 2), and finds that Defendant meets the requisite standard.
As such, Defendant’s motion for in forma pauperis status is hereby GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: June 27, 2017
Troy L. Nunley
United States District Judge
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